Could a Planet Ever Collide With Earth?

Could a Planet Ever Collide With Earth?


This is the fictional planet Nibiru which
has been predicted to slam into Earth, resulting in the end of the world. The scenario is known to doomsayers as the
Nibiru cataclysm. It was allegedly supposed to have occurred
several times over the last decade but most recently in April of 2018. Needless to say… it didn’t happen. Even though planetary collisions aren’t widely
observed today, it’s believed they were once pretty common and they left lasting impacts
on the planets in our solar system and beyond. Uranus is thought to have been a victim of
a major collision. Billions of years ago an object, at least
twice the mass of Earth, crept up a little too close to young Uranus, and the two bodies
slammed into each other with great force. Researchers say the cataclysmic collision
was so strong it caused Uranus to shift onto its side. This theory would explain why the planet has
an axial tilt of nearly 98 degrees which is far more dramatic than the rest of the solar system. Fortunately, Uranus managed to maintain the
majority of its atmosphere so it’s still around today. However, not all planetary masses survive
impacts on this scale. Earth is thought to have been at the center
of a catastrophic collision that destroyed another planet. The Giant Impact Hypothesis – aka The Big
Splash or the Theia Impact – suggests that an object about the size of Mars moved towards
Earth more than four billion years ago. It then slammed into our protoplanet and vaporized
on impact. The theory claims that debris from the decimated
planet was pulled into Earth’s orbit and over time, the pieces are thought to have
clumped together, eventually forming the Moon. While this is estimated to have happened a
really long time ago, there are some planetary collisions that are thought to have occurred
a lot more recently. Within the last few thousand years, it’s believed
two planets orbiting a young star were involved in a violent, catastrophic collision. The impact annihilated the smaller planet,
sending its remains far into space in the form of vaporized rock and metal. Since this was a relatively recent collision,
some of the remains are still present and in 2009 NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope found
evidence of the impact. It detected traces of silicon monoxide gas
– a product of a vaporized planetary crust. Scientists believe the findings help back
up the Giant Impact Hypothesis. So could history repeat itself? Could a planet ever collide with Earth? Scientists say it’s highly unlikely. While large-scale collisions were prevalent
when our solar system was young, it would be extremely rare for one to occur in a stable
and established system like our own. On top of that, if a planet were to come remotely
close enough to threaten Earth, astronomers would be able to spot it years, if not decades,
before impact. So, it’s safe to say, we don’t have to worry
about a rogue planet obliterating our existence – well at least not in our lifetime. If you’re looking to learn more about space exploration and astronomical phenomena be sure to watch this episode of Space Crafts. And don’t forget to subscribe to Seeker for all things science. Thanks for watching!

100 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *